If having a go at ice skating at the Winter Village has sparked your kids’ interest in winter sports, then the city has plenty of exciting opportunities on offer at the beach and in Garthdee, as well as the ski slopes of the Cairngorms.
Aberdeen’s Snowsports Centre offers open public sessions as well as coaching for all ages and abilities. The instructors are well-qualified and enthusiastic and it’s possible to hire equipment. Coaching is available in group sessions or individually and the minimum term is a month, paid by direct debit. Lessons are available for kids aged 4-5 and upwards. There are sessions available for those with additional support needs too.
Classes are available for Beginners, Early Intermediates, Intermediates and Club-ready skiers and snowboarders, as well as tuition in Freestyle Development and Performance and Race Introduction. Bookings must be made in advance.
If that all seems more like hard work than fun, there’s also a slope used for tubing, which is great fun for children and adults alike. You don’t need any training or balancing skills, as it’s just sliding down a slope while sitting in an inflatable rubber doughnut tube. The hard part is dragging the thing back up to the top of the slope for another go.
Aberdeen Snowsports Club offers a range of activities for junior members from 5-17 years old from their base at the Adventure Aberdeen Snowsports Centre at Garthdee. Much of the training is aimed at the more experienced child and includes classes in Freestyle Skiing, Racing, Snowboarding, All Mountain Skiing and cross-training sessions in gymnastics and trampolining. You can see what’s on offer at aberdeensnowsportsclub.co.uk/activities-and-classes/
We also have some of Scotland’s best skiing available at Glenshee, the Lecht and Cairngorm Mountain near Aviemore. Glenshee is spread over three valleys and is family-friendly and great for beginners. It’s typically open from mid-December to late March, but snow is never guaranteed. Cairngorm has a slightly longer season and usually has snow in at least part of the territory, though it can be very busy at weekends. There are plenty of other ways to entertain the kids if there’s no snow. The Lecht lies at a lower altitude, so snow is less certain, though it’s generally quieter and has the best nursery slopes for beginners of all ages.
If ice is more to your child’s liking than snow, then the Linx Ice Arena at the beach provides lessons in both ice skating and ice hockey as well as open skating sessions. Ice Aberdeen is a recognised British Ice Skating Skate UK Learn to Skate provider, working with everyone from complete beginners to the next Torvill and Dean. There are group lessons or individual coaching and it’s possible to hire equipment. They even offer parent and toddler sessions, which is fine if you don’t mind being outskated by a fearless three year old. Details of open sessions and instructions are available from the SportAberdeen website.
The arena is also home to three local Ice Hockey teams, the best known being Aberdeen Lynx. Those over 16 can participate in the Hockey For All scheme which is suitable for those with basic skating skills. Unlike league matches, the session is totally non-contact. The HFA sessions run on Saturday afternoons, with some loan equipment available. The sessions are taught by fully qualified ice hockey coaches. Beginners are also assisted by a number of the better players who attend. You can find out more on their Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/151023861610208/